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Harsh Realm: The Complete Series [DVD]

3.5 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Scott Bairstow, D.B. Sweeney, Terry O'Quinn, Rachel Hayward, Max Martini
  • Writers: Chris Carter
  • Format: Box set, PAL, Dolby
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 26 July 2004
  • Run Time: 405 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00020JQDK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,889 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

This action-packed sci-fi drama tells the story of Lieutenant Thomas Hobbes, a soldier whose last mission is to enter the virtual reality military training programme known as Harsh Realm – to escape from this nightmarish alternate reality he has to beat the top player in the game, Omar Santiago, the man who holds the secret of the way back into the real world. Will Hobbes succeed in his mission? How many people does he need to kill? Who can he trust? Is Harsh Realm really only a game?


The dark and fantastic Harsh Realm, a science fiction series about a war fought by flesh-and-blood humans trapped inside virtual reality, was launched by The X-Files creator Chris Carter in 1999 and died a regrettable, premature death on the Fox channel after three episodes. The remaining six shows found sanctuary on the FX network, and then Harsh Realm slipped into history, its wild story, based on a comic book, far from resolved. Perhaps Harsh Realm's ratings failure had something to do with its broad similarities to the hugely popular The Matrix, released only a few months before, or, for that matter, David Cronenberg's 1999 eXistenZ, in which characters fight for their lives inside a video game. Whatever the reason, enough time has passed to take an objective look at Harsh Realm, and there is a lot to be admired in its high level of imagination, complex plotting, and cutting-edge production values.

Scott Bairstow stars as U.S. Army Lieutenant Tom Hobbes, a decorated hero who risked his life rescuing a buddy, Major Mel Waters (Max Martini), during a peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia. Set to return to civilian life and marry his fiancée, Sophie (Samantha Mathis), Hobbes is summoned by a mysterious superior (Lance Henriksen) and asked to test-run Harsh Realm, a virtual reality war game devised by the Pentagon. Once he begins, however, Hobbes is mentally imprisoned in the dangerous game (his body, along with those of hundreds of other "volunteers," is cared for in a secret military hospital), where he is identified by other, desperate captives as the savior they've been awaiting. D.B. Sweeney is very good as another soldier, Mike Pinocchio, whose sense of mission is re-awakened by Hobbes and who becomes a partner in an endless effort to defeat a madman named Santiago (Terry O'Quinn), who rules Harsh Realm from within. As with The X-Files, the nine episodes in this boxed set are each very striking on their own terms, with post-apocalyptic sets, constant surprises, and that special Chris Carter touch (fans of his Millennium will like Harsh Realm, too) that makes every story look and feel like a collision of a nightmare and a crisis of faith. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I for one would like to know how to go about getting a job on a TV Network in the USA. Obviously you don't need any kind of quality control credentials. You just cancel what you like when you like!
Harsh Realm is a show that was cancelled before it was ever given a chance to shine, and while there are are a few duff episodes, on the whole it is an excellent slice of TV Sci-Fi. The computer program/alternate universe theme is always a good one and Scott Bairstow plays his role well. Although the stand-out character in my opinion is D B Sweeney's Pinocchio. Cynical to a fault, while always entertaining.
Yes, the show is a bit underdeveloped, but with less than half a normal season of episodes thats only to be expected. And it does get very good towards the end of the season.
Highly recommended. Harsh Realm is dfinitely worth buying. And considering how unlikely it was that UK viewers would ever get to watch it, you can savour it all the more. Buy it. You never know, maybe if enough are sold then we might get more never-seen gems!!
We can hope!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Harsh Realm: The Complete Series [DVD]
Scott Bairstow
Sold by: musicMagpie
£0.84 + £1.26 P+P

First off - no complaints about the seller or the physicality of the product. both fine.

This review relates solely to the show.

#### difficult to say if there will be any spoilers in this review #### but mostly because there is chuff all to spoil. Addendum. Having just finished writing this there will be some spoilers for those (like me) dim-witted enough to watch this dreck.

The premise - as far as I can tell, and I'm not au fait with the comic books or whatever label they have, but this was allegedly inspired by one. However, according to the 'extras' one of the creators explicitly says that it is nothing like the comics and the only thing they kept was the title and a few names. That said they'd've been better off sticking to the comics by the sound of it as the plot for this series is confused and confusing. (perhaps i'm not mentally adept enough to appreciate it's subtleties). On the one hand all the soldiers of an elite team have systematically been 'sent in' to assassinate Santiago (apologies if the spelling is off) a mad despot - are there any other kind? who is brutally taking over the united states in a virtual reality terrorist sim created by the army. So why not just pull the plug on the game? seemingly because Santiago is a bad man in the real world who must be stopped but no one can find him. Really??? with all the 'INTEL' the dark forces allege to have? Seemingly the only place he can be more easily found and thus murdered (choose your own conscious soothing euphemism - me I have no problem with murdering tyrants - that is murdering them.. not tyrants who murder). is in the 'realm'. OK so send in, one by one, an elite team.
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I was initially put off by some of the negative feedback this DVD had been given, however finally I bit the bullet and gave it a go. I wasn't disappointed. In fact, by the end of the series, it really had left me wanting more. It certainly should have been allowed to continue and didn't deserve to be cancelled, and you are left with the strong impression that this was a show just finding it's feet - the episodes move from strength to strength, and I am certainly pleased that I took a chance and bought this one, it now has a proud home amongst my collection. Had it not been cancelled, I think it would have become a hit show, and it's a shame that it will never achieve the success it (in my opinion) so richly deserves.
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With Harsh Realm, Chris Carter tried to hit off his third television show after "The X-Files" and "MillenniuM" back in 1999. For reasons that were never really explained, the Fox network cancelled the show after only 3 (in words: THREE!!!) aired episodes, because ratings did not seem to be what they had expected (after three episodes, please keep in mind!). So, although nine episodes had been produced, only three had been aired. Of course, this DVD-set contains all the nine produced episodes.
In short, this is what the show is about: Lt.Thomas Hobbes, portrayed by Scott Bairstow, returns from military duty in Sarajevo after rescuing his friend Waters there, asking himself what exactly guides his life. He now lives on a military base with his beautiful fiancé Sophie, played by Samantha Mathis, only to be called to a secret meeting in the middle of the night. There he is told by a general, played by Lance Henriksen, that there actually is a virtual computer simulation created by the US government, which had the purpose of serving as an almost perfect virtual environment for training soldiers and had been obtained through scanning of the real world, so that, in a sense, a true parallel world exists: Harsh Realm, a synthetic world filled with virtual characters in the image of real people in the real world. The problem is that a certain Omar Santiago, played by Terry O'Quinn, has entered Harsh Realm, basically conquered it and now rules part of it as a Hitler-esque General in his very own city complex, Santiago City.
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